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The District 65 Magnet School Planning Committee issued its report on Feb. 16, recommending that Dr. Bessie Rhodes Magnet School focus on inquiry and connections to the global community and that Martin Luther King Jr. Laboratory School focus on fine arts and emphasize literature and writing.

The report recommends that Bessie Rhodes “integrate the Illinois Learning Standards with global content to foster high academic achievement and awareness and understanding of the world and its workings.” It is envisioned that technology be used as an instructional and communication tool to develop partnerships and allow interaction with schools around the world, that sister school relationships allow for teacher and student exchanges, and that all students will have an opportunity to develop a proficiency in Spanish and be introduced to Mandarin Chinese.

The report recommends that King Lab ensure that the arts are addressed as independent core subjects as well as integrated into other curriculum areas; that literacy instruction focus on reading and writing, with an emphasis on writing for publication and include speech and debate; and that fine arts also be integrated into the core content areas. Student performances, exhibitions and publications will be used to demonstrate and assess learning; and partnerships will be established with university fine art departments and with working artists, says the report

The report also contains recommendations concerning the magnet school selection process, staffing, principals, and design of the facilities, professional development and other issues. The report suggests that the recommendations be implemented in three phases, the first of which would include more planning and the initiation of the implementation process.

The Committee was scheduled to present its report to the School Board on Feb. 16, after this paper went to press.